Tourism industry is influenced by various factors including sociocultural evolution and political relationship. Particularly after the Islamic Revolution of 1978 in Iran, a new policy on tourism brought new conditions of tourism with emphasis on pilgrimage tourism.
Generally, tourism is known as one of the essential element of rural development. In Iran, there are many sacred places where are regularly visited by pilgrimages. Some of the holy places are located in rural areas, and they are attractive to many visitors.
In the undeveloped rural areas, the community suffers from several socioeconomic problems including poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, and even depopulation. Sometimes the rural development is ignored by state planning, in the favor of urban development. The Government’s open market policy on agriculture[??if it is open, why government].
These problems lead to the stagnation of economy, and eventually the degradation of the quality of life in rural areas. Rural tourism provides opportunity to create jobs and to diversify incomes for rural households. In recent years, the local government has considered the tourism activities. Since 2005, the state authority of Iran has been playing a leading role in the development of rural tourism.
The Tourism Sample Village (TSV) is a main project to study the possibility and potentiality of local resources. In addition, the TVS focus on the development of rural tourism and the encouragement of local inhabitants.
Rural tourism is a sustainable program to support the local society and to conserve the local environment. In other words, the TVS acts as a pivotal basis to establish a sustainable local tourism in the country (Clarke, Denman, Hickman & Slovak, 2001). Rural tourism is a subject including beliefs, traditions, and folklore (Su, 2011; MacDonald &Jollifee, 2003). Tourism is a strategic plan to encourage economic growth and boost the local economics. Tourism activity in rural areas has remarkably increased since the 70s in all developed countries.
The recent studies (Nepal, 2007) showed that rural tourism affected the development of rural settlement rural. In other words, rural tourism plays a key role to develop the economy of rural areas, especially in the period of economical recession (Perales, 2002; Deller, 2009).
Peripheral communities and rural areas are main tools of promoting local jobs, and they are also used as a pathway to regenerate rural activities and to restore local economy (Fleischer &Felsenstein, 2000; Panyik, Costa,&Rátzl, 2011;Park, 2009 ;Cawley& Gillmor, 2007). Therefore, rural tourism can enhance rural lifestyle and renders positive changes in the distribution of income particularly in less-developed regions. In other words, tourism helps to boost the rural economy and plays an important role in...